Capital FM (Nairobi)

Kenya: UAP Begins Trading of New Shares

Nairobi — UAP Holdings Limited has started trading its new shares in Over-the-Counter (OTC) market, providing investors in UAP with liquidity of their shares following the successful conclusion of the firm's Public Offer in December last year.

Speaking at the launch of trading for the UAP shares, Group Chairman Joe Wanjui said they believe the OTC market will provide an efficient price discovery mechanism and opportunity for the general public to acquire shares, while allowing UAP to grow in the region.

"UAP is currently implementing an ambitious growth expansion strategy to key markets in Africa. Currently the group is in five countries and we shall soon be entering the Tanzania market with intentions to expand our operations to key selected markets in Africa which have strong potential for growth," he said.

Currently, the group has a total of 11 operating companies in Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Rwanda, with a total premium income in excess of Sh7 billion and total assets in excess of Sh22 billion and the Group has obtained licenses to begin operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is in the final process of entering the Tanzania market.

Capital Markets Authority Acting Chief Executive Paul Muthaura emphasised that the listing will support UAP's pan-African expansion strategy, strengthen the balance sheet of their existing businesses and support the execution of their real estate strategy.

"In the Kenyan context, listing not only will support your increase in liquidity, but it'll also be critical in supporting the company," he said.

"For example, for shareholder value, they will benefit from exemptions on trading on their securities and as a corporate entity you will benefit from certain tax incentives depending on the extent to which you free float to the market," he explained.

UAP Group MD Dominic Kiarie said the Public Offer is one of the key milestones in the long history of UAP, which has been characterised by steady, prudent and profitable growth focused on wide geographical coverage.

"The new proceeds together with the Sh4.6 billion earlier raised in June 2012 from private equity investors brings the total amount to Sh5.4 billion, which will support our pan-African expansion strategy, strengthen the balance sheet of our existing businesses and support the execution of our real estate strategy," he explained.

"This will assist in diversifying our businesses across key geographical markets and segments and deliver sustained and strong growth in earnings," he added.

The launch of the OTC market follows a successful Public Offer concluded in December 2012, which saw the company float 12.5 million shares to the public at a price of Sh60.

The offer was oversubscribed with a subscription level of 130 percent and out of the target Sh750 million, the offer raised Sh971.9 million, with a total of 951 new investors.

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